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Industry puts the spotlight on potatoes

potatoes
Bord Bia has launched a major marketing drive to highlight potatoes to consumers

This year, Bord Bia marked National Potato Day on Friday, 2nd October, following the announcement of a substantial marketing drive behind the crop

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Horticulture

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5 October 2015 | 0

National Potato Day 2015 is an annual celebration by Bord Bia highlighting the natural goodness of potatoes and their key place in contemporary cuisine. This year’s celebration also sees the re-launch of www.potato.ie with many healthy potato recipes, as part of the wider EU and potato industry funded ‘More than a Bit on the Side’ promotional campaign.

Enduringly popular, research proves potatoes are a decisive victor over rival carbohydrates for the Irish, with over two-thirds (69%) preferring the spud with their dinner rather than rice (14%), pasta (13%) and noodles (3%), with 59% agreeing that taste is a key factor.

Speaking on this year’s annual celebration, Lorcan Bourke of Bord Bia says, “With people becoming more aware of the benefits of embracing natural foods, I think it’s important to highlight what an exemplary food the potato is. It’s a completely natural source of energy and provides three times more potassium than a banana, and also a significant amount of vitamin C. It’s also incredibly flexible in terms of the dishes you can create with it.”

Not only is the potato a great addition to many family favourite meals, Bord Bia are also encouraging Irish people to consider the potato as ‘More than a Bit on the Side’, as part of a wider EU and potato industry funded promotional campaign. The ‘More than a Bit on the Side’ campaign highlights the excellent benefits of using the potato as the star ingredient in many family meals, and www.potato.ie provides top new recipes for potato-based meals.

In September the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today launched a new €1 million marketing campaign to boost potato consumption among Irish consumers. Bord Bia will coordinate and manage the three year campaign which has been designed to dispel fattening myths around potatoes, positioning them as naturally fat free, tasty and versatile.

Speaking at the announcement of the new funding Minister Simon Coveney said “the potato is part of our culture like no other food, inextricably linked to Ireland’s story and part of who we are. This campaign will bring the different varieties and versatility of the Irish potato to a younger generation.” The initiative will be co-funded by the EU, Ireland’s potato industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will be run in conjunction with the British Potato Council. The overall strategy is to implement a single umbrella campaign, across both the Irish and British market, which will raise the image and profile of potatoes, and re-establish their relevance within the weekly shopping basket.

Highlighting some of the challenges facing the industry Mike Neary, Horticulture Manager, Bord Bia, said, “Potatoes are still Ireland’s preferred main meal carbohydrate, however shoppers under-45 account for only 33% of potato sales and these consumers will ultimately make up a major part of the total market in the years to come. Younger consumers view potatoes as a traditional, unexciting food and less convenient than modern carbs such as pasta and rice.”

The new promotional campaign will focus on younger consumers, in particular 22-44 year old females. “We really need to challenge consumer perceptions of fresh potatoes – particularly amongst younger age groups – in order to combat declining consumption. This integrated campaign will highlight the fact that potatoes offer enormous potential within the world of modern cooking and build awareness of the added health and nutritional benefits of potatoes in comparison to competitor carbohydrates” added Mike.

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